Wow…time is flying by and so is our trip. We’re in the heart of the schedule now and there’s a lot to mention from the past week since we left Michigan and NW Indiana as I wrote about in the most recent posts.
After leaving Mike and Kris’s home in Chesterton, IN, we traveled to New Albany, IN (across the Ohio River from Louisville, KY) to visit briefly with my oldest brother, Steve. We stopped in at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum on our drive down and just ducked into the museum before a strong thunderstorm blew through the area. When we resumed our drive, it was great to see that we basically missed the storm and only had some light rain to deal with rather than the 65 mph winds and heavy rains that had roared through the region while we were inside. The Louisville area had received about 6 inches of rain that morning in about an hour and the flooding was big news there, but we didn’t really run into any of it for which we give thanks to God.
I shared a ministry update during the Wednesday night service of my brother’s church and also received a call from our Sunday appointment letting me know that I should be prepared for an hour of SS for giving an update and also a 30-35 minute expository message. I was concerned about the latter instruction because I hadn’t planned on much else besides giving more than a detailed ministry update at any of our schedules meetings, and learning of this extra request to speak left me with perhaps just an hour or two of time in our schedule before the Sunday morning service in order to prepare. However, God was gracious and by Sunday morning I had the message He wanted me to share and He touched a number of lives through His Word. Praise God for that!
It was very encouraging to hear some neat comments from some of the church members who told me that they really needed to hear the challenges concerning discipleship and in sharing our faith. One man told me with tears in his eyes that he was reminded that he needed to be patient in loving a lost relative and in not giving up on what God might do in this person’s life. Another man told me that he had been too caught up in his work and that he went right over to a younger brother in the Lord in the church and set up a Tuesday morning breakfast date (for tomorrow!) so that they can begin a weekly time of discipleship and Bible study together. It was something he’s been meaning to do for a long time and the Lord used the message to drive that need home to him. A woman told me several times that she really needed to hear the challenges of the messages I shared in that she shouldn’t feel that the response or lack of response of some folks she’s been witnessing to should lead her to feel guilty or that she is somehow not doing enough for the Lord when these people don’t immediately want to receive the Gospel message. She said she had a renewed vision for continuing to plant spiritual seeds and let God do the work in their lives.
I can’t tell you how awesome it was to hear these and other comments and to know that if anyone was touched by what I shared, it was definitely from God and not from me. Praise God for working in all our lives!
Since our New Albany visit, we spent a night with some special friends in Xenia, OH and then were hosted in Garrettsville, OH where I spoke on Sunday. In another late request that came on Saturday, Cameron was asked to share in the Sunday children’s church in an interview format. We heard he did an excellent job of sharing about life in Mexico and what it’s like from his perspective. We are very proud that he did this well and did it without any real preparation. He loves to talk so that wasn’t really a huge challenge for him! Doing so in front of an audience of about 20-25 kids was a first for him. He’s growing up as an early adolescent 11 year old and he is maturing in bigger ways as well. We thank God for that too.
Sunday afternoon and evening we drove to Carlisle, PA and we’ll leave here in the morning (Tuesday). We’re staying with supporters here and also sharing their home with our dear co-workers, Scott and Ruth Yingling and their five kids. It has been great to see some familiar faces and folks we know so well and feel so comfortable around. We certainly feel like family and as is the case with fellow CAM missionaries, they ARE family. We love them very much and appreciate them and our many other fellow CAMers.
Today we visited a Civil War museum in Gettysburg and also enjoyed a brief visit to the Hershey Chocolate Factory. I had some flashbacks to the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory book and movies while there, but don’t worry, I didn’t fall into the Chocolate River. (Beth held my belt loops)
The next few days we’ll be visiting with Beth’s sister, Kim and her husband, Jeff, and their 9 kids. That’s 9 as in NINE, IX, “nueve,” iiiiiiiii. I suspect we’ll have a lot of fun there and be totally wasted by our departure on Saturday. I hope I can get caught up on some reading and studies but maybe that’s an overly optimistic outlook!
BTW, tomorrow (officially today as I write this), Tuesday, August 11, 2009 is Dayton Isaiah McManus’ 8th birthday! We’re pleased that God has given Dayton to our family and has allowed him to live 8 years with us. We’re also pleased that he hasn’t managed to kill himself by running out in front of cars, falling off stuff he shouldn’t be up on, doing unbelievably foolish and thoughtless things, or by succumbing to the sometimes strong urges of his parents to want to remove him from this world that we brought him into! (ha-ha…just kidding of course). We love our boys and our Dayton…actually, God’s Dayton. May he grow up to be a godly young man and eventually into a godly old man someday.
A few days ago he was a bit restless from being in the car so much and he just sorta went a bit nutso for a few minutes when we got out of the car and walked through a restaurant. I didn’t see it but Beth said he went right up to a table seated with strangers and was acting crazy in front of them. Beth grabbed him and began hauling him away apologizing profusely. The lady at the table said, “Oh no, that’s OK. Is he autistic?”
Yup…that’s our Dayton. I don’t think he’s autistic but I also don’t think his mother should have let him read in the car his first Calvin and Hobbes book either. He loves to mimic just about anything he thinks is funny. He’s already doing stand-up comedy just about every day whenever he thinks he has an audience…thanks to Tim Hawkins on You Tube and at least one too many viewings of Nacho Libre. At least he is funny sometimes. (BTW, I don’t know where he gets this.)
We’ve already celebrated his birthday with one set of cousins back in Indiana, but maybe we’ll celebrate one more time tomorrow with another set of cousins! It’s not everyday that one can celebrate an 8th birthday…although I think we’re well on our way to trying that!
We’ll be back in Ohio by Saturday evening and into West Virginia a few days later. Stay tuned…
(and thanks for continuing to pray for our travels, visits and opportunities to share Christ and our ministry as well)